SBC News Pallez determined for FDJ to expand beyond France  

Pallez determined for FDJ to expand beyond France  

SBC News Pallez determined for FDJ to expand beyond France  
Jake Pollard

Française des Jeux (FDJ) will continue to focus on the international development of its lottery and online sports betting and gaming activities to enable the group to become “a leading international gaming” business in 2024 and beyond.

Writing in FDJ’s annual report, CEO Stéphane Pallez said the group has set itself the aim to “deploy our strategy with determination” in order to “strengthen our positions in our competitive businesses” and make Groupe FDJ “a leading international gaming” business.

The strategic aim of strengthening its position in “competitive businesses” and turning the group into an international industry leader refers to the regulated online betting and gaming space.

Its recent €2.6bn offer to acquire the pan-European sportsbook and online casino operator Kindred Group will be, if the proposal is approved by France’s competition authorities, a key component in that vision.

In 2023 the group also completed the takeover of the Irish lottery operator Premier Lotteries Ireland for €350m and France’s number 2 online horse racing tote operator ZETurf for €180m.

Pallez praised the product development work carried out by FDJ in 2023, notably the launch of EuroDreams, the “first European annuity game, conceived (in partnership) with eight lotteries from the Euromillions community”, and of Web3-related projects to explore blockchain and crypto opportunities.

FDJ also launched Nirio in 2023, a local payment service enabling French people who do not wish to be automatically debited or don’t have access to online banking to pay their everyday bills and expenses in FDJ’s retail outlets.

ANJ probes problematic T&Cs

France’s gambling authority the Autorité Nationale des Jeux has carried out a comprehensive review of online operators’ terms and conditions in order to remove a number of clauses that have been problematic for players.

The aim of the review was to strengthen players’ rights in cases of disputes with bookmakers or gaming sites and was carried out following a number of reports and queries received by the country’s gaming ombudsman and the authority. Submitted by players, the enquiries questioned the validity of certain clauses stipulated in operators’ terms and conditions.

ANJ added that “the validity of these clauses may also have been put to the courts”; and that the review of operators’ contractual documentation was carried out in order to achieve a satisfactory level of legal compliance prior to any subsequent controls.

However, ANJ also pointed out that the review “does not constitute validation” of the terms, as it “does not have the vocation” of standardising them and only operators are responsible for drafting the documentation.

Key findings

ANJ’s discussions with operators resulted in “the deletion of various clauses, some of which were illegal due to their abusive nature, while others were ambiguous and therefore likely to lead to implementation difficulties”.

In particular, ANJ targeted clauses that totally or partially exclude operators of any liability and  prevent or hinder consumers from having recourse to legal action.

Clauses that restrict consumers from accessing “means of proof” were also addressed, as were those that shorten the period during which players can assert their rights against the operator, or allow the operator to limit bets without justification.

ANJ said all operators had amended the majority of their clauses and “several of them have chosen to completely overhaul their T&Cs”, it added

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